Big Ben Gets Layered

Remember New Zealand’s most beloved sheep, Shrek? In 2004, Shrek (pictured left below) was found in a cave after avoiding being caught and shorn for six years. He was carrying 27 kg (59 lbs) of fine merino wool (an average merino fleece weighs about 4.5 kg). Shrek’s huge coat of merino wool had kept him alive all those years despite New Zealand’s harsh, snowy winters and searingly-hot summers. Shrek ended up giving 22 kg of his coat to charity, but his recorded weight was never submitted to Guinness World Records. Icebreaker also stepped in to keep the newly-naked Shrek cozy with a specially-made coat, which he wore for an audience with then Prime Minister Helen Clark in Wellington (story here).

Now fast forward to just a few weeks ago when four sheep were spotted on the slopes of Mt. Ben at Omahau Hill Station after being separated from their flock for over six years. One of the four sheep, dubbed as Big Ben, had a very impressive fleece (pictured right below). Shearers decided to attempt to set the first Guinness World Record for the heaviest single fleece taken from a sheep. When the job was complete, which took almost 30 minutes, Big Ben’s fleece weighed in at 28.9 kg!